I was eleven years old when I witnessed real magic for the first time.
The television was on, daring me to change channels, when the when the words “Proactiv Acne Solutions!” flashed onto the screen. Two side-by-side photos of Judith Light sat above the bold print. The image on the left was a “before” shot depicting Judith’s zit-riddled visage; the one on the right was her blemish-free “after.” I leaned forward on the couch, mesmerized by the irrefutable evidence in front of me.
At the time, my willingness to credit a Proactiv infomercial with supernatural powers may or may not have stemmed from the fact that I had recently attempted a series of failed acne prevention initiatives. I’d even smeared toothpaste on a few pimples the night before my fifth grade Greek mythology play. (I had a starring role as Theseus, so the stakes were high).
I asked my mom if I could order the 3-step Proactiv treatment kit. She agreed. When it arrived a week later, I snuck into the bathroom and diligently applied each product in their prescribed order. I massaged, swabbed, and patted until my face was pink and glowing with the promise of change.
Ultimately, Proactiv failed to relieve my facial woes. The products reduced my breakouts, but they also made my skin flaky and red. I looked like a chapped sailor for a good chunk of middle school.
In subsequent years, I latched onto a diverse array of product lineups and skincare kits with the same degree of optimistic fervor. After industriously chasing the perfect system for more than a decade, however, I still had yet to find The One.
I decided my skin problems were incurable. That was it. I ditched the celeb-endorsed remedies and abandoned my quest.
The thing is, once I was finally freed from the rigid bounds of a particular quick fix brand or regime, skincare became less of a chore and more of a delight. I began experimenting with a rotation of products. I ordered Korean serums on Amazon. I crowd-sourced advice from my friends about their favorite exfoliating brushes. I started using Maracuja oil because it’s really entertaining to say. I challenged airport security with my lack of Ziploc baggies.
And then something strange happened. Something — dare I say — magical. When I stopped fighting my skin, I actually started to understand it. No longer blindly enslaved to the latest 3-step regimen, I had the chance to learn what kinds of products worked for me (gel-based moisturizers!) and what kinds didn’t (salicylic acid scrubs!). It was a series of long-awaited revelations.
My enlightening experimentations gradually began to pay off. My skin has improved considerably — in fact, I am pretty much breakout-free these days. (Though I still experience habitual gratitude for the existence of concealer).
This new era of epidermal harmony is both wonderful and bizarre. After years of helicopter-parenting my pores, I’m finally giving them room to breath. The hovering was unproductive at best, boring at worst. You know what’s not boring? Messy DIY avocado face masks. Raiding French drugstores. Spritzing myself with rose water. Layering creams onto my forehead like a Momofuku birthday cake masterpiece.
It’s not magic, but it’s way more fun.
SOURCE: Man Repeller – Read entire story here.